Tag Archives: influence

Dark streaks on Mars may not be evidence of water after all

These dark streaks on Mars were once thought to be evidence of flowing liquid water, but ...

Mars is a pretty barren place, and although vast oceans likely once covered the surface, nowadays any remaining water seems to be locked in ice at the poles or underground. But in 2011 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted dark streaks in the dust that appear in summer and vanish in winter, hinting at the influence of flowing water. On closer inspection however, a new NASA report suggests the answer may not be so simple.

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Half Of This Amazing New Library’s Books Are Actually Fake

Thanks to impatient clients, many of the shelves in this impressive library are full of faux volumes that nobody can read.

Tianin is a port city in northeastern China that mixes the architectural influence of 19th century Europe with modern icons like its 1,350-foot-tall Tianjin Radio and Television Tower. Now, the city has a new landmark that looks like it was teleported from the future: Tianjin Binhai Library, a breathtaking, 360,000-square-foot cultural temple designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV.

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These Students Built The Anti-Bot Algorithm Twitter Desperately Needs

“There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit in terms of what Twitter can do to work toward a solution,” say the two students behind a new bot-identifying tool.

In recent Senate hearings, lawmakers grilled representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google about how the Russian state used their platforms to sow discord and influence the election. The tech giants were contrite but relatively close-lipped about what they are really going to do to prevent foreign governments from manipulating American voters online.

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Exclusive: Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect

But its influence, and core technology, lives on across the industry.

Manufacturing of the Kinect has shut down. Originally created for the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s watershed depth camera and voice recognition microphone sold ~35 million units since its debut in 2010, but Microsoft will no longer produce it when retailers sell off their existing stock. The company will continue to support Kinect for customers on Xbox, but ongoing developer tools remain unclear. Microsoft shared the news with Co.Design in exclusive interviews with Alex Kipman, creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing.

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To change people’s actions, tell them it’s a trend

Focusing on how social norms are changing can help people change their own behavior, new research suggests.

“What leads people to overturn a status quo?”

Whether it be for the environment, one’s health, or other important causes, convincing people to adopt new or uncommon behaviors can be difficult. One reason is that societal norms powerfully reinforce the status quo.

“One question we’re interested in from a psychological standpoint,” says Gregg Sparkman, a doctoral student in psychology at Stanford University and the research’s lead author, “is how social change happens. What leads people to overturn a status quo?”

Sparkman points out that although change usually happens slowly, it does happen, and perhaps more frequently than we notice. For example, seat belt use was once a nuisance, but now it’s standard practice. Smoking in restaurants and other public places was once commonplace, but has declined.

The question for the researchers is what factors influence people to make those changes.

Eating less meat

Past research on how social norms influence behavior has focused on seemingly static views of how most people behave, according to Greg Walton, an associate professor of psychology and the study’s senior author. Sparkman and Walton’s research, however, tests how people behave when they think the norm is changing.

“Showing how norms are changing can give people a model of how they can change too, and lead to a circumstance where many people change,” says Walton.

The researchers conducted four experiments relating to meat consumption, a norm Sparkman described as “well-rooted, highly visible, and something you do every day in the presence of others.” It’s also a norm that has a huge negative impact on the environment, as livestock consume large volumes of water and emit greenhouse gases.

In one experiment, participants from across the United States read two statements about eating less meat. One statement (static) described how some Americans are currently trying to eat less meat, while the other statement (dynamic) described how some Americans are changing and now eat less meat.

Being eco-friendly isn’t ‘individual’ in all cultures

The participants who read the dynamic statement reported more interest in reducing their meat consumption than those who read the static one. Those participants reported anticipating that this change would continue into the future—leading them to conform to that future norm.

Another experiment tested people’s likelihood to order a meat-based lunch. People standing in line at a university campus café read statements describing how some people “limit how much meat they eat” (static) or “are starting to limit how much meat they eat” (dynamic). Lunch goers who read the dynamic statement were twice as likely to order a meatless meal than those in the static group (34 percent compared to 17 percent).

An important aspect of these studies, the researchers say, is that participants were never asked to change their behavior, or even told the benefits of doing so.

“We didn’t ask people to not eat meat or eat less meat,” Walton says. “They’re just given information about change.”

Dynamic messages

The researchers also conducted an experiment involving conserving water during the recent California drought. They posted signs in laundry facilities at high-rise residences of graduate students with static messages (“Most Stanford Residents Use Full Loads/Help Stanford Conserve Water”) or dynamic messages (“Stanford Residents Are Changing: Now Most Use Full Loads/Help Stanford Conserve Water).

While there was no change in the number of laundry loads in buildings with no signs over the next three weeks, there was a 10 percent reduction among those who saw the static message, and nearly a 30 percent reduction for those who saw the dynamic message.

The next question, Sparkman says, is to see whether it is possible to apply this method to other sustainability initiatives like curbing electricity usage and promoting policy support for new laws, such as those to reduce the gender gap in wages.

Competition, not support, gets you to the gym

“Dynamic norms may play a large role in social change,” Sparkman says. “Just learning that other people are changing can instigate all these psychological processes that motivate further change.

“People can begin to think that change is possible, that change is important and that in the future, the norms will be different. And then, if they become persuaded and decide to change, it starts to become a reality.”

The researchers report their work in the journal Psychological Science.

Source: Stanford University

The post To change people’s actions, tell them it’s a trend appeared first on Futurity.

These Scientists Wanted To Understand Twitter’s Bot Armies, So They Built Their Own

A group of scientists deployed their own bot net–and found it to be surprisingly effective.

Think back to September 29, 2016. If someone had told you that, one year later, Twitter would be briefing the Senate and House intelligence committees on how Russia used a network of hundreds of automated bots to influence the U.S. election, would you have believed them?

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general design discussion • Re: Is designing for convenience worth the privacy breach?

Sorry I took it off track a little. I think it was more the influence of a conversation I was having with a client who wanted me to take on a phase of work that is outside my wheelhouse and trying to help them understand that while that was still design, I needed to bring in someone who specializes in that. I can manage it for them of course, depending on how they want to run the project… sorry, totally OT, but it was in my thoughts. I’m speaking at a conference in a few weeks called Design Forward where I think I will be the rare speaker there who is an industrial designer who also does branding and design strategy. It will be an interesting experience.


general design discussion • Re: Is designing for convenience worth the privacy breach?

yo wrote:
Sorry I took it off track a little. I think it was more the influence of a conversation I was having with a client who wanted me to take on a phase of work that is outside my wheelhouse and trying to help them understand that while that was still design, I needed to bring in someone who specializes in that. I can manage it for them of course, depending on how they want to run the project… sorry, totally OT, but it was in my thoughts. I’m speaking at a conference in a few weeks called Design Forward where I think I will be the rare speaker there who is an industrial designer who also does branding and design strategy. It will be an interesting experience.

I definitely know what you mean! After all, an industrial designer, in my opinion, is much different than a pure UX designer although it seems to be true in many cases that both professionals need to acquire some knowledge of the other’s responsibilities to get jobs done effectively these days. It will be interesting in the context of education to see how these design professions are separated, the different design degrees students will be able to earn as technology shifts, etc…


This redesign would cut bias on Airbnb

In a study involving nearly 9,000 Airbnb users, researchers propose that implementing features that emphasize a user’s reputation can offset harmful social bias.

The “share economy,” in which people rent goods and services, including their homes and automobiles, has numerous benefits for people trying to make extra money. One downside, however, is the prospect of people’s biases about race, gender, or other factors affecting their decisions about whom to do business with.

The new study that analyzes Airbnb users and data suggests measures that enhance a user’s reputation, like stars or reviews, can counteract these harmful prejudices. The results, the Stanford University researchers say, indicate sites that use reputational tools create a fairer and more diverse online marketplace.

The share economy, also referred to as “collaborative consumption” and “peer-to-peer lending,” has allowed everyday citizens to turn into entrepreneurs, taking advantage of an industry that’s projected to grow to $335 billion by 2025, according to the Brookings Institution.

Share economy transactions are distinctive because, unlike most other e-commerce dealings, they have an intimate feeling to them. Think about when you purchase a pair of shoes online either directly from a retailer or from a third-party site: there’s rarely, if ever, a human element to the transaction.

But when you reserve an apartment on Airbnb, there’s a personal feel—you’re staying at someone’s home. Because of that element, you become attentive to the personal characteristics (ex. gender, age, etc.) of the home’s owner or the guest, says Bruno Abrahao, a visiting assistant professor at Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences and the study’s lead author. That attentiveness to details peripheral to the transaction can lead to bias.

People like us

The researchers in this study focused on a certain type of bias called homophily, a natural tendency to develop trustful relationships with people similar to themselves, and how best to counteract it. The study is part of a broader research project analyzing trust and technology at Stanford.

The researchers recruited nearly 9,000 Airbnb users for their experiment, conducted on an online platform external to Airbnb’s. The participants were shown mock profiles of other Airbnb users with varying demographic and reputation information.

Algorithms don’t yet spare us from bias

The researchers created two experimental groups. Group 1 included profiles with some demographic similarities to the study participant (ex. a single male in his 20s viewing a profile of a user with comparable age, gender, and marital status). Group 2 included profiles with completely different personal traits from the participant, but with better reputations—conveyed by impressive star ratings and number of reviews – than those in Group 1. (Profiles from Group 1 were included in Group 2 for comparison).

To test for evidence of bias, participants played a behavioral game where they were asked to invest credits in the various profiles. The amount of credits a person invested in each profile served as a measure of trust.

In the first group, participants invested greatly in the similar profiles. The more similar the profiles were, the more the participant trusted them, succumbing to bias.

In the second group, however, the researchers noticed a shift. Participants invested significantly more in users whose characteristics were completely different than their own, but who had better reputations. Those profiles’ reputation mechanisms counteracted people’s penchant for favoring users similar to themselves.

Maximize trust

Knowing the robust effects reputation features had in the experiment, the researchers then analyzed 1 million actual interactions between hosts and guests on the Airbnb platform. They found that hosts with better reputations were attracting more demographically diverse guests, as their data predicted should happen.

Ride-share drivers discriminate against black riders

This finding offers evidence that reputation systems used by Airbnb and other sites on the sharing economy platform may allow users, like the study’s participants, “to extend trust to those who exhibited a high degree of dissimilarity in the social space,” the authors write.

Not only can offsetting these social biases be beneficial for users seeking services, but also for marginalized hosts offering them, Abrahao says.

“The fundamental question we wanted to answer is whether technology can be used to influence people’s perception of trust,” Abrahao says. “These platforms can engineer tools that have great influence in how people perceive each other and can make markets fairer, especially to users from underrepresented minorities.”

Additional coauthors are from Stanford and Airbnb. The National Science Foundation supported the work, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Stanford University

The post This redesign would cut bias on Airbnb appeared first on Futurity.

The-Human-Aura-300x150

general design discussion • The Human Aura

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Since ancient times we have seen images and paintings of diverse spiritual leaders crossways various traditions however one thing that is common amongst all of them is the halo that environs their head which is recognized as the Aura- energy arena. It not only surrounds just the head however also extends all round your body. This aura signifies your physical, emotional mental, as well as divine energies.

The aura is frequently seen a mix of fine colored frequencies wherever each color defines its own distinct nature plus characteristics. The shaking of this aura is actually fine and delicate so we need very fine tools to detect it otherwise may be we can use our inborn instinctive mechanism plus our latent psychic perspective to train ourselves not merely to see the aura however also to interpret the diverse colours and forms in the aura which can disclose us a lot of unspoken information

What Is the Human Aura?

The human aura is an area of subtle, glowing radiation adjacent us and spreading outer from our physical form. Auras are connected to the electromagnetic area of the body plus serve as a visual amount of our mental, expressive, physical plus spiritual states.

Everything that we do otherwise think touches the aura so it is typically in a state of flux, always changing, founded on our mental meanderings plus physical health. The aura is moreover affected by the energies of the atmosphere, the force fields of the world and the radio frequencies that interpenetrate all methods of a matter. The aura is an electric signature of who we are.

The Color of the Human Aura

The colors of the aura might glow and discharge with joy and energy as we keep a state of holiness in God. Or the colors might become dull, constructed and stultified once we are gloomy, while we allow ourselves to be unhappy when we criticize or see life as less than lovely.

Appreciation strengthens the aura as the heart originates a pink plus golden sun-like happiness. And at other times while we put ourselves down otherwise enter into the criticism of others, the size and happiness of our auras lessen. Holding imageries and ideas of ourselves as well as others as less than entire also impinges on our aptitude to send out auric areas of light energy that bless plus uplift.

Thoughts, Feelings, Diet as well as the Human Aura

Diet has an influence on the aura. But more prominently, what we take in with our eyes and ears and whatever we think affects the power and pattern of the aura. While we put our courtesy upon God and all that this period represents for us, the rotating of our chakras quickens and a resonance with the potentials of God starts to cleanse the aura plus expand it.

The Human Aura as well as the Chakras

The chakras are similar generating stations inside us. Alike to the mitochondria, those organelle control houses which reside inside each human cell, these places of light can be an excessive self-regenerating emphasis.

We can imagine our chakras every day. And as we emphasis on a precise chakra, we see its petals rotating and then quickening in perfect balance and equilibrium. We see the entire radiance of these seven main generating stations increasing and blessing ourselves as well as all those who drive within our range of influence.

The excellence of our prayers is reliant on the excellence of our heart, our awareness…and, so, our aura. If we wish to be of superior service and efficacy, if we wish to perform alchemical feats for the good of manhood, we must first go inside, self-assess as well as get in balance. We must appear to our chakras and wash them every day in the light of God. In order, their acceleration will make a rise and expansion in an awareness that is transformational.

The entirety of who we are is transmission to the world over the aura that discharges out from us, even though maximum persons do not see this aurora borealis-similar light show around themselves and others. And if we wish to upsurge the beauty, intensity as well as a size of our aura, it will definitely occur as we emphasize more and more on all that is optimistic, kind, considerate, forgiving, and just as well as loving.
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